Catholic League president Bill Donohue looks at the latest article by the New York Times on the Catholic Church
There is no media outlet more obsessed with old stories about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church than the New York Times. Today’s story is a gem. On the front-page, complete with a color photo, there is a story on William Cardinal Levada, former archbishop of Portland and San Francisco and current head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One might expect a front-page story to contain something dramatic, but there is nothing there: it is just a rehash of old stories.
The headline says more about the Times than Levada. It reads, “Cardinal Has a Mixed Record on Abuse Cases.” Front-page stories, of course, typically deal with current events, exceptions being new revelations about important historical events. But neither is the case with Levada. To learn that a leader has a “mixed record” extending back a quarter century is not exactly news. Unless, of course, there is an agenda at work.
Here is what the reader learns. When Levada was an archbishop, he learned that some homosexual priests molested post-pubescent males. Of course, the Times refuses to use the term homosexual, but it is obvious from reading the story that the victims were not kids. Then Levada did what nearly all leaders did at the time—and many still do—he sent the abuser to therapy. As usual, it didn’t work.
For Catholics to be convinced that the Times is not motivated by an agenda to get the Church hierarchy, they need to see front-page stories on the role that two contributing actors have played in the scandal: homosexual priests and their enabling psychologists. One more thing: we’d like to see a series of stories on ministers, rabbis, imams, public school teachers, athletic coaches, guidance counselors, camp officials….
Contact NYT public editor Clark Hoyt: firstname.lastname@example.org